Monday, December 19, 2016

Backup Your Old Photos

Do you have boxed of old photos gathering dust? I know I do, and some of them are very precious to me. I have scanned many of them using a flatbed scanner and a small photo scanner, but it takes a lot of time to crop and organize them. Google introduced a new app recently that makes the job much easier. Google PhotoScan is available for Android, iOS, and the web. Just in time for a nice winter project!
PhotoScan captures your printed photos quickly and easily. It has built-in editing tools that crop based on edge detection, straighten, and rotate your pictures. The easy step by step capture flow eliminates glare from glossy photos.

PhotoScan saves your photos right to Google Photos keeping them safe, searchable, organized and shareable.

PhotoScan offers an auto enhance feature. Just select Auto in the editing tool (pencil icon).

PhotoScan offers advanced editing controls that will allow you to express your creativity. Create a movie with your photos, or give your photos a filter to change the dynamics.

Not only can you edit scanned photos with PhotoScan, but you can also edit digital copies. So, if your holiday selfies don't come out in glorious perfection, you can touch them up and wow your friends and family!

Here's a quick intro video for you:

Introducing PhotoScan by Google Photos
And here's a video that goes into the details of editing:

Scan old printed photos easily with Google's PhotoScan app

Happy photo scanning!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Explore for Google Docs

Google Explore

G-Suite now has added something new that helps to enhance and simplify the workflow in Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Explore is the new kid on the block of Google features, and it's very easy to use.

Getting Started with Explore

The Explore button can be found in the bottom right corner in Sheets, Docs, and Slides. Click on the Explore icon to use the feature.

Explore in Sheets

In Sheets, Explore will demystify analyzing data.
    • Formulas - You don't need to type in a formula, you just type in the question. For example, I wanted the sum of the column for Red. Here's one way to ask the question in Explore:
    • Charts and Graphs - Charts and Graphs are already created for you. Choose one and drag it into your sheet. From there you can modify it if needed.

Explore in Docs

In Docs, Make research a snap! Explore will assist you in suggesting images or related topics as well as relating the content of your document to other documents you own or researching web sources.

Explore in Slides

In Slides, Explore can help polish your presentation by suggesting different layouts and designs.

Monday, December 5, 2016

2016 Techie Gifts (That Won't Break the Bank)

I love gadgets. That is really no surprise, is it? I am always keeping an eye out for techie gadgets that will save me time, money or be highly entertaining. I don't think I'm alone, as techie gadgets seem to fill the carts of many shoppers this season.
Here are my personal picks for techie gifts for 2016. All of them are reasonably priced. It just might help you find the perfect gift to give or receive!

  1. Amazon Echo Dot

    $49.99 on Amazon
    Saves time, money, is very entertaining and is faster and more responsive than Siri or Google. Give the gift of a know-it-all companion with a sense of humor!
  2. Amazon Fire Tablet and Fire Tablet for Kids

    Fire Tablet on Amazon $49.99 - $69.99  Fire Tablet for Kids on Amazon $99.99
    A great deal for a decent little tablet. I am especially fond of the Fire Tablet for Kids. No worries about little ones pulling up a racy video on YouTube, and if your public library offers ebooks via Overdrive (Harvard Diggins does) your favorite kiddos can enjoy hundreds of quality ebooks for free!
  3. EC Technology Portable Bluetooth Keyboard

    $29.99 on Amazon
    If Cousin Eddy likes to use a keyboard with his tablet or phone, this compact model is an excellent choice at a great price.
  4. Roku 3

    $69.99 at Walmart
    Need a gift for someone wanting to cut the cable? I have personally tried all kinds of streaming devices - Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Chromecast. This one is my personal favorite as it is not specific to a particular platform, it works equally well with my Mac and PC. Streaming video quality is great, and as an added bonus, you can plug headphones in the remote which saves me from listening to my husband's action movies and saves him from having to hear "The Crown" on Netflix. Win-win!
  5. Adonit Pixel

    $59.99 on Amazon
    Ideal for the student or budding artist. I am neither, and I actually prefer pen and paper. However, this has worked great for me to highlight text, write notes in margins and the all important doodling that I indulge in now and then.
  6. Acrylic Kitchen iPad Rack

    $29.95 on Amazon
    It seems everyone is using their tablet or phone to look up recipes these days. Protect your favorite cook's investment by keeping their device off the counter.
  7. Selphy Printer

    $94.00 on B&H Photo
    Got a photo bug in the family? Want to be the life of the holiday party? This small, portable picture printer is perfect. Prints 4X6 photos in a flash with no drying time. What fun to send people on their way with a photo memento of the occasion!
  8. Ozobot Smart Robotic Game Piece

    $59.99 at Toys R Us
    Who doesn't want a miniature robot? This baby measures just over one inch in diameter and height. Great intro to coding for ages 6 to 60!
  9. Tile Slim

    $30 for 1 at Amazon
    Life is hectic. Give the gift of security to that one person in your life who is always losing things. Personally, I struggle with keys, and Tile has a solution for keys too, but I really like the Tile Slim for wallets, purses, and laptops.
  10. Bose SoundTrue Ultra Ear Buds

    $129 at Best Buy
    Looking for a gift for an audiophile? Some may argue that when you buy Bose, you pay for the name, but for my money, I think the quality is superb. These are definitely going on my wish list!

Just a little disclaimer:
I don't represent any of these products or companies. All the opinions expressed here are solely my own. Just sharing my enthusiasm for nifty gadgets.

Happy Holidays!